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Old 14th Aug 2019, 12:18 pm   #1
dave walsh
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Default Morse, Bell, Marconi to Smartphones!

I've not followed all of the Jim Al-khahlili series "Revolutions-the Ideas That Changed the World" BBC4 of course but I caught 3/6 last week [Rocketry to Ion Drives]. Last night [4/6] was as per the title above including Hedy Lamarr who has had quite a few mentions [re her scientific prowess of course] on here in the past!

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Old 14th Aug 2019, 12:29 pm   #2
'LIVEWIRE?'
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Default Re: Morse, Bell, Marconi to Smartphones!

I've seen three of them, but unfortunately missed the Morse, etc. to Smartphones episode. Must catch it on the I-player (I'm not one for watching early morning TV!) I guessed that Hedy Lamarr would be mentioned, having seen the film about her life last year.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 1:00 pm   #3
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Default Re: Morse, Bell, Marconi to Smartphones!

It was typical 'technical' TV: lots of historical reconstructions, few real explanations. The last few minutes were spent on the future 'sunlit uplands' of direct brain control of computers etc. My wife's comment was that it didn't explain how radio went from Morse code to speech and music.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 7:14 pm   #4
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Default Re: Morse, Bell, Marconi to Smartphones!

I saw this and was suitably impressed with the content. The depth of the program content wasn't obvious from the title, but as I had been watching the previous episodes I saw it anyway. It covered pretty much the whole history of communications in an hour. The presenter is the right man for the job too. He always seems to get the information across (to me anyway).
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Last edited by Biggles; 14th Aug 2019 at 7:18 pm. Reason: Correction of non-sensical statements!
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Old 15th Aug 2019, 4:40 pm   #5
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Default Re: Morse, Bell, Marconi to Smartphones!

I still have yet to see the program, but, IMHO, Jim Al-khalil is exactly the right man to present these documentaries, giving the necessary information in a concise and understandable way. Some members may have seen an earlier series of his 'Shock and Awe-the story of Electricity', which was very interesting and informative.
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 9:22 am   #6
Malcolm G6ANZ
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Default Re: Morse, Bell, Marconi to Smartphones!

The programme reminded me of a series James Burke did in the 70's called "Connections". His programmes showed how apparently random discoveries and inventions came together to build a modern invention. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connections_(TV_series)
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 12:26 pm   #7
dave walsh
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Default Re: Morse, Bell, Marconi to Smartphones!

I remember "Connections" Malcolm. You need the right tone, script and presenter for this sort of thing. [Dr] Michael Mosley is very good on Scientific Medicine but they once linked him with two other people and it really didn't work! Jim A is also very good interviewing on the Radio 4 "Life Scientific" series. I'd recommend Ken Gabriel re Smartphones and Diana Strickland first Nobel Prize winner on Laser Physics in particular!

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Old 16th Aug 2019, 12:41 pm   #8
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Default Re: Morse, Bell, Marconi to Smartphones!

Jim Al-kalili was better in his Electricity series, because he had more time to explain things properly. That series had some educational content. This latest one seems to be aimed at entertainment alone.

For example, they spent a long time on Hedy Lamarr. (Silent) reconstructions of her discussions with her collaborator, drawing on a piece of paper. Then they showed us the actual piece of paper with their idea for frequency-hopping. They did not explain what the diagram actually meant, it was just some boxes with some short lines in them. Basically science as practised by historians, in that the historical artifact and who drew it was more important than the idea drawn on it.
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 2:18 pm   #9
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Default Re: Morse, Bell, Marconi to Smartphones!

I'm glad I'm not the only one a little disappointed by this programme. I too enjoyed Shock and Awe rather more.

One thing which struck me was the implication that Samuel Morse invented telegraphy. What about Wheatstone et al? There were one or two other jarring moments, but they didn't stick in my consciousness as far as what they were.
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 3:07 pm   #10
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Default Re: Morse, Bell, Marconi to Smartphones!

We need more programmes by Helen Czerski. She seems to be able to sneak some content in right under the producer's nose, even though they insist on filming her in an old warehouse with video projected onto rough brick walls. Maybe that is what they are taught in Media Studies courses as being the latest 'creative' thing?
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Old 17th Aug 2019, 1:14 pm   #11
dave walsh
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Default Re: Morse, Bell, Marconi to Smartphones!

Yes I see the last episode of "From Ice To Fire" is on BBC4 Thursday Dave!

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